Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Max's service schedule challenge

Source here.

8.30am Holy Communion (BCP)
10.45am Morning Prayer
11am Sung Eucharist (BAS or alternating)

5pm (Sat) Corporate Confession & Absolution with Anointing (ELW)
8.30am Holy Communion (BAS Rite I)
10.45am Morning Prayer
11am Sung Eucharist
(Morning Prayer and Holy Communion, first Sundays)

Inner city
4pm (Sat) Corporate Confession & Absolution with Anointing (ELW)
5pm La Messe-Basse
9.30am Holy Communion (BCP)
10.15am Sung Mattins & Litany
11am Solemn High Mass (BAS Rite I)
4.30pm Festal Evensong & Benediction

Monday, June 28, 2010

Undergraduate options I decided against

*Midwifery at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver
*Psychiatric nursing at Brandon University in Manitoba
*Basque Studies at the University of Nevada at Reno
*A double major in sexual diversity studies and the (now sadly defunct) psychoanalytic thought at the University of Toronto (the former through University College, the latter at Trinity) or alternatively in Christianity & Culture and Celtic Studies (at St Mike's)
*Jewish music at Yeshiva University in New York
*Canadian Literature at the University of Victoria, British Columbia
*Cultural Studies and Critical Theory at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario
*Culinary Arts at the Dublin Institute of Technology
*Civil law at the University of Ottawa
*Journalism at the University of King's College, Halifax
*Orthodox Theology at the Greek Orthodox Theological Academy of Toronto through the Université de Sherbrooke, Québec

Sunday, June 27, 2010

A truant Mattins

We fled the city for the duration of the G20 summit, and visited the Church of St John the Evangelist in Elora, Ontario, near Kitchener-Waterloo. The Choral Mattins advertised for second and fourth Sundays was, alas, mysteriously dispensed. Instead we had a Choral Eucharist of Trinity IV.

The service was surprisingly faithful to the BCP. The (Merbecke) Gloria, however, was moved to the beginning, which led to some calisthenics as the entrance rite was otherwise done kneeling. The vesture had the air of pre-Ritualist Tractarianism: the celebrant wore a surplice and stole and faced east on an altar covered in a superfrontal (though he lost his nerve and spun round at the Words of Institution, posts passim). A burse and veil were used, as well as one of those twee little stoles for the lectern. The only spiky touch was the use of apparelled amices on the servers. All the ministers in the sanctuary knelt round the altar for most of the service.

The prayer book lectionary was used, a rarity these days outside of places like St Bart's in Toronto. The gradual psalm, however, was neither that appointed in the prayer book nor the RCL psalm. The last verse was sung as an Alleluia (also the custom at St Bart's) but after springing to my feet reflexively I found myself alone. All rose when the Gospeller (a laywoman from the nave) reached the lectern.

The Nicene Creed was said and the celebrant ascended the pulpit. The rest of the service was prayer book to the letter, complete with manual actions - "He brake it (crack!)" - and post-communion Lord's Prayer. The people joined in the second half of the Thanksgiving ("And here, we offer...") which is common, just as many places also have the Collect for Purity said by all. This phenomenon is likely a part of "organic development" - in earlier editions of the BCP, even the Prayer of Humble Access was said in the congregation's name.

The music of the Mass, incidentally, was Hassler's Missa Secunda. Mozart's Ave Verum Corpus was sung by the excellent choir of St John's. (The music director is also artistic director of the famed Elora Festival, whose choir sings at the church when the festival is underway). It was a rare treat finding such authentic old-fashioned high-and-dry Anglicanism in the country - and I shall return for Mattins!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Nativity of St John the Baptist

Montréal is an incredible place. Just walking down the street is a novel experience for those formed in the mores of Orange Ontario. Beer and wine appear in convenience stoor windows, the pedestrian traffic signals are guidelines, and somewhere a spliff is burning. My worldlier friends describe it as "the only place you can touch the strippers" which sounds a little like one of those legal urban myths that you'd get in a bubble gum wrapper. (It is said, for example, that the Fairmont Le Reine Elizabeth must provide a bag of oats for your horse). In middle school, the grade 8s boasted about the tattoos they would get as we stopped at Tim Horton's franchises in Kingston. After the fact, none owned up to having done such a thing, though a few went home sporting short-lived piercings.

Today was the patronal festival of Québec and the Anglican Church of Canada. A Solemn High Mass (sans procession or Te Deum) was celebrated in English and French (well, Latin and Greek if you count the choral parts) according to the rite of the prayer book of 1959 and the traditional Western Rite at the Church of St John the Evangelist. A lovely blue and gold High Mass set was used, complete with maniples and a humeral veil for the subdeacon. The birettas which I saw for the first time at St John's were not in evidence. Hymns were from the English Hymnal, and the Epistle read but the Gospel monotoned rather hurriedly. A satisfying lunch of hamburgers and hot dogs followed. Home tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

From the Anglican Journal comments

"The document and speakers referenced a paradox in our life as a church. Unfortunately the paradox only exists for those unaffected by continued inaction. For those who don't actually enjoy the 'full inclusion' the document would suggest, there is only injustice. Someone has to pay the price for unity, I'm just sad it has to be me."

Friday, June 11, 2010

Old Catholic schizophrenia

Bishop David Hamid, suffragan to the Bishop of Gibraltar in Europe, blogs about a particularly bizarre effect of the Archbishop of Canterbury's purge: the removal of the rector of Frankfurt in the Convocation of American Churches in Europe from the Anglican dialogue with the Old Catholic churches. It seems that ++Rowan fears the Episcopal Church's voice cannot be trusted not to contaminate our representation to even the Old Catholics - who are ahead of us in permitting the blessing of same-gender unions and the ordination of gay clergy! It is hard to see how, unlike perhaps with Rome or the Orthodox, the dialogue would be upset by an American representative. Of course, the Archbishop is not about to withdraw his own participation from Communion affairs: as a bishop in the CoE he's free to bless as many such unions as he likes in his province so long as they remain "informal."

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Pastoral generosity

On the order paper today is resolution C009, moved by an openly gay youth member from the Diocese of Toronto. The text is as follows.

Affirm that the most generous pastoral response possible be provided to people in committed same sex relationships; and that in dioceses, with the approval of the diocesan bishop, the most generous pastoral response in each individual context be determined.

This motion is very clever. By granting a local option (the bishop is empowered to determine what constitutes appropriate pastoral care) without saying so outright (the "b" word does not appear) it avoids the Archbishop of Canterbury's jesuitical definition of "formal." It is not the blessing of same-gender unions itself that is problematic for ++Rowan, for such is the common practice of his own province, so long as we do not use the word in a formally enacted resolution.

UPDATE The motion, which was the only way we were going to salvage anything out of this mess, has been withdrawn.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Disingenuous debate

Israel is in the news again. As is so often the case, the debate appears to have degenerated into a competition of talking points. What's particularly tragic (in the true sense of the word) is that it does not seem that there is a real ideological rift between the two "sides" of this rhetorical war.

Take the Israeli Apartheid controversy at Pride Toronto. Apologists for the Israeli administration argue that the group is a breeding ground for anti-semitism, aimed at delegitimizing the State of Israel's very existence and all together too cosy to extreme groups like Hamas. Israel, they point out, is the closest to a modern liberal democracy in the Middle East.

Palestinian partisans are appalled by the interception of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla. They are outraged that Palestinian workers are walled into a third world zone from which they must make a half-day's commute through deliberately humiliating conditions in order to find work. They point to arbitrary and bureaucratic regulations about spices in the embargo and the underprovision of the residents.

Yet both positions are selective. Both seek to uphold rights of national self-determination and democracy. Both, it is true, have unsavoury supporters in some quarters. Yet mainline political parties in both Israel and Palestine support a two-state solution at least in principle. Having met members of the contingent in question at last year's parade, I can vouch for the fact that most of them were themselves Jewish. Most supporters of Israel, similarly, are not Bush Republicans. They are people whose love of freedom and national pride causes them to be loyal to the cause of Israel's independence just as Palestinians are theirs.

These positions are not inconsistent. Liberally-minded people of all ethnic and religious communities should realize we are common allies against extremism. Under Mr Netanyahu's government, Palestinians live essentially in Bantu townships or indeed First Nations reserves. Citizens and friends of Israel cannot profess surprise when the "A" word rears its head. Countering this talk with censorship rather than refutation (for apartheid is a defined legal term and can be answered on its own merits) is self-evidently suspicious.

Meanwhile, Palestinians in Gaza participate in the reinforcement of their own oppression by electing a government dedicated to opposing Israel's enjoyment of the same rights they seek for themselves. The State of Israel was founded by international consensus in response to an urgent need for a safe haven for Jews. There was no seriously viable alternative, Uganda notwithstanding. And Partition, as noted, has broad cross-community support.

Some have been known to proclaim themselves "anti-Zionist, though not anti-semitic." The truth of the latter will of course vary from person to person, but on the former point they seem commonly mistaken. Only a few interlocutors have tried to persuade me that Israel's existence is not legitimate. More often, they seem to be using "Zionism" as a sort of metonym for imperialist elements within the Western bloc, including the United States and Israel. Yet defenders of Israel are usually, again principle, prepared to concede the possibility of legitimate criticism of Israel.

So then, why cannot moderates in both communities come together in support of mutual recognition and co-operation, unafraid to be critical wherever it is necessary and supportive wherever possible. I realize this is probably necessarily a naïve view, but I am not a political scientist, and my understanding is primarily driven by theological anthropology and what I read in the news. But it seems to me unfortunate to align based on ethnic chauvinism rather than mutual compatibility for the purpose of achieving a path to peace. To use the analogy, it seems rather like the Social Democratic & Labour Party allying with Republican Sinn Féin rather than participating in the governance of Northern Ireland on a cross-community and democratic basis.

Monday, June 7, 2010


For coverage from General Synod, visit Dogs at the Table:

I am still not satisfied that there is any acknowledgment that the continuing “gracious restraint” and “ongoing dialogue” is at the expense of a constituency of the church who are already making enormous spiritual sacrifices just to affiliate with the Anglican Church.

Liturgical latitudinarianism and the Anglo-Catholic aspiration

In the interval between the Catholic Revival and the Liturgical Movement, Anglicans of a Catholic identity wrestled with the perceived inadequacy of rites derived from the 1662 tradition. This question was less problematic in provinces such as Scotland, the United States, and to a certain extent in Canada from 1959. However, books like Ritual Notes, the English and Anglican Missals, and the English Hymnal, represent a way of wrapping the traditional "Western Rite" round Archbishop Cranmer's texts.

Many parishes and clergy, including many we would not consider "extreme" today, made use of these resources to greater or lesser extents. A little cosmetic surgery fashioned a somewhat more satisfactory Canon, and the complete Sanctus and Agnus Dei could be inserted. Others might make use of the "minor propers" or at least an introit and/or gradual. On the far end of the spectrum, there was the sort of parish, of which S. Clement's Philadelphia is perhaps the last true surviving specimen, in which the Tridentine Mass was constructed with more diligence than is typical in the Roman Catholic Church, albeit largely in the vernacular. Yet even "middle of the road" parishes would resort to these books at least in Holy Week.

Arguments about the canonical status of these alterations were at times a bit strained. Today, on the other hand, the 1979 prayer book and its virtually identical rubrical cousin the Book of Alternative Services provide for traditional language services in the Western Catholic shape, with the Gloria At Beginning, explicitly sacrificial Eucharistic Prayers with sound epicleses, and the full rites of Holy Week. The rubrics allow for the interpolation of psalms or anthems in all the right spots, allowing for the use of the Anglican Gradual and Sacramentary. Those desiring completely traditional language including psalmody may avail themselves of the conforming texts in the Anglican Service Book. In Canada at least, even the traditional Eucharistic lectionary is still authorized, if officially discouraged, and to this day as a lector I regularly wrap up with what I will always the find the anticlimactic "Here endeth the Epistle."

Now that full communion with the Lutherans is established, we may hope that we benefit from their sound democratic polity of episcopacy and they from the restoration of certain ecumenically positive aspects of episcopal ministry. In my opinion, on the other hand, amid all the buzz on the episcopate, the (I think) far more pressing dialogue on the diaconate has not commanded such attention. Unlike bishops, deacons in the ELCiC are still not ordained. On the other hand, their own texts are not only pretty much wide open, but only "commended" rather than authorized. Even in the more conservative Missouri Synod and its neighbour the Lutheran Church - Canada, the parameters are broad enough to permit the similarly outlying example of Zion Detroit, essentially a "Lutheran Missal" parish.

Other Anglo-Catholics have more recently found ways to accomplish what has always been a great dream of a large segment of Anglo-Catholics: reunion to Rome or Constantinople (my apologies to the Orthodoxen for the shorthand) without loss of the Anglican liturgical and spiritual identity.

It has been said that Anglo-Catholics won the battles but lost the war, but I think that this is a glib characterization of what is a really a highly promising situation. Anglo-Catholics of all tendencies have found canonical means of accomplishing their goals. Except, perhaps, the English Use enthusiasts, who are long due for a renaissance, but some faithful souls have never ceased quietly toiling.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Selections from conservative talking points in pre-synod web debate

If the heterosexual community sees itself (and the sacrament of marriage) as being harmed or threatened by the possibility of blessing same-sex unions, whether physically or not, is this not an equally important side of the issue?

If white people in Vancouver "feel" they get a raw deal in university admissions owing to an "Asian invasion," even if they cannot support the assertion, aren't those "feelings" equally important? Remember that we are talking about allowing people into said sacrament: is the implicit assumption that it will be tainted? What is the alleged harm?

Considering that about 1/2 of homosexual "marriages" are what is termed an "open marriage" (meaning that adultery is the norm) means that the very concept of marriage is damaged!

A red herring. No redefinition of the monogamy requirement is proposed. Same gender couples must submit to the same obligations of Christian marriage as anyone else.

Truth of the matter is that God's Word does not change, nor will it ever, just to suit our purposes or the year we live in. It should be our ultimate Map & Guide, these types of issues are to be subservient to its Truth. Why is it so hard to figure out that with its mercy, judgement comes hand-in-hand. This should not be an issue AT ALL. Yes I admit that is the 'narrow' view, but is it not part of our mandate to set an example to the world?

It is interesting how many people are citing the authority of scripture as a grounds for refusing a more compassionate approach to gays and lesbians. No one is advocating stoning adulterers, and the Anglican Church of Canada seems to have accommodated divorce and remarriage without too much of an assault on its conscience. Yet the “texts of terror” on homosexuality suit people’s prejudices, and so are retained.

The need to hold to biblical standards is more important than listening to the experiences of people.

An unwittingly apt encapsulation of the tragedy of the reasserter position: the text is more important than human souls.

The opening statement of this article is very misleading. It reads Once again members at next months General Synod (GS) will be asked to consider issues of human sexuality.This will mark our next step in the now 34-year journey of debate, study, and discernment that began with the commissioning of the first task force by the House of Bishops in 1976. Many, including the bloggers who have commented here, will interpret this statement to say that the issues which are facing our church today have been studied and debated for thiry years. That is just not the case.

In what sense is it not? The theology behind this began closer to 40 years ago, dating back at least to Pittenger's Time for Consent?

Most of those who see themselves as remaining faithful to traditional teachings of the Church and the guidance of Holy Scripture do NOT "hate" gays.

Homosexuality-as-sin was 2004; it's now 2010. We're not backtracking. Do reasserters believe if they don't mention the current position of the Anglican Church, liberals will forget about it? Right now, we acknowledge that these unions are holy yet refrain from blessing them, which is an inherently absurd position.